Plot: What’s it about?
George Lutz (James Brolin) and his wife Kathy (Margot Kidder) are newlyweds, trying to start a new life after they went through failed previous marriages. The couple has three children from their former marriages and while not poor, the financial situation isn’t that stable. George feels pressure from Kathy, who wants a better life, so he overextends himself in order to purchase a beautiful home for the family. The house has some past issues, as a madman butchered his family inside, but the value was there and that was what mattered. As soon as the brood moves in however, strange events begin to unfold inside the house, starting with small, eerie things, but soon these events escalate. As they soon face horrific, unexplainable events, can the family remain in the house and if so, will it cost them more than they ever imagined?
The Amityville Horror is one of my favorite haunted house movies. I didn’t say it was the best, or even good, mind you, but it is one of my favorites. As based on “real events,” The Amityville Horror is pure camp. This is a parade of cliches, with no real attempts made to scare the audience. This is about as “smoke and mirrors” as a horror movie can be, just implied chills and some low rent special effects here and there. I might not never get scared by this movie, but it entertains and then some. I always have a blast when I watch, thanks to how over the top the performances are, especially Rod Steiger, God help him. Steiger simply shines here and gives this awful material such a ham handed effort, you can’t help but love the performance. So if you’re after genuine scares, look elsewhere, but for camp fun, The Amityville Horror delivers in spades. The transfer here is better than the DVD, but not by much, while the extras have all been dropped. That makes this release a hard sell, but if you’re going to see The Amityville Horror, you might as well see it in high definition.
Video: How does it look?
The Amityville Horror is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer ups the ante from the DVD, but won’t turn any heads. The print has some minor debris, but is mostly clean, which helps keep softness down. At the same time, detail is good at best and does drift at times. The colors look fine, but contrast is inconsistent at times. I know that all sounds harsh, but for fans, this is a decent looking presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
This might be a DTS HD 5.1 option, but you wouldn’t know it from this weak soundtrack. This kind of movie benefits from eerie surround presence to help bolster atmosphere, but there’s none here. What very little surround presence there is, comes off as thin and ineffective. Even the movie’s music sounds anemic, not good news at all. Dialogue is acceptable, but also suffers from some issues, so just not a good presentation. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, the original mono soundtrack, French and Spanish language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.